Life is Strange Wiki
Life is Strange Wiki

Drawing from Max's journal.

Rewinding is one of the major gameplay elements in Life is Strange. It gives the player the ability to let Max Caulfield rewind time, undoing any of her actions, and provides replay value to the game. It emphasizes the overall theme of cause and effect as well as the butterfly effect.

After observing a new element of gameplay information, such as examining an object or having a particular conversation which gives Max new insight, the player can rewind in order to use that information to Max's advantage in the game.

It can make her seem knowledgeable in front of her teachers or less nosy in front of her friends. This element of gameplay can influence the player's experience enormously.

The butterfly icon in the top left corner of the screen is shown to indicate that Max has made an influencing decision which furthers the gameplay; this also indicates that those choices can be changed.
This action will have consequences-0.png


Rewind Swirl.png

The rewind position is indicated by the swirl in the top left-hand corner. It dictates any notable events which have taken place - such as a conversation or interaction with an object - which Max has the ability to rewind. Using this, the player can see when they made decisions which can be changed within the game environment.

A recent conversation, for example, will appear as a dot on the swirl. To go back to the moment before this conversation occurred, the player must rewind to the dot. It is then possible to repeat the same conversation and make different choices.

Main article: Control Scheme

PC Controls

Press Right Mouse Button and hold - Rewind

Press Right Mouse Button and hold Shift - Rewind faster

Press Control - Rewinds to the last event on the recent timeline (indicated by a dot on the swirl, as above)

Press A/D and Left Mouse Button/Right Mouse Button - Focus on photos

PlayStation Controls

Press L2 and hold - Rewind

While holding down L2 to rewind, hold down R2 - Rewind faster

Press L1 - Rewinds to the last event on the recent timeline (indicated by a dot on the swirl, as above)

Press Left Stick and Right Stick - Focus on photos

Xbox Controls

Press LT and hold - Rewind

While holding down LT to rewind, hold down RT - Rewind faster

Press LB - Rewinds to the last event on the recent timeline (indicated by a dot on the swirl, as above)

Press Left Stick and Right Stick - Focus on photos


Main article: Max's Abilities#Consequences



In the tradition of adventure games, the player has to solve numerous puzzles by using Max's rewind, 30 in total.

Episode One - "Chrysalis"

  • Convincing Justin Williams to show Max a skateboard move of her choice (optional).
  • Convincing Brooke Scott to allow Max to fly her drone (optional).
  • Forcing Victoria Chase to move aside and let Max enter the dormitory.
  • Taking an optional photo of Victoria's photo arrangement without leaving behind any evidence of Max having vandalized it (optional).
  • Convincing Dana Ward to admit to her pregnancy without knowing Max had previously searched through her room (optional).
  • Warning Alyssa Anderson about the football throw and taking an optional photo (optional).
  • Taking optional photo of Frank Bowers's RV without leaving behind any evidence of Max having vandalized it (optional).
  • Saving the Blue Jay from killing itself (optional).
  • Obtaining the box of precision screwdrivers in David Madsen's workshop.
  • Uncovering David's surveillance information without leaving any evidence which will implicate Chloe (optional).
  • Hiding from David who is preparing to enter Chloe's room.

Episode Two - "Out of Time"

  • Warning Alyssa from a toilet roll throw (optional).
  • Searching for Kate Marsh's book without damaging it.
  • Convincing Taylor Christensen to open up to Max (optional).
  • Convincing Chloe to believe in Max's rewind powers at the Two Whales Diner by succeeding at her challenges.
  • Saving Chloe from an approaching train without damaging the train tracks.
  • Convincing Courtney Wagner to allow Max into the Vortex Club's planned party (optional).
  • Helping Warren Graham with his science experiment to score him a higher grade (optional).

Episode Three - "Chaos Theory"

  • Sneaking past Principal Ray Wells.
  • Breaking into the principal's office.
  • Warning Alyssa from being splashed by a passing car (optional).
  • Taking Frank's RV keys without Frank knowing Max had taken them.
  • Obtaining William Price's car keys before he does and hiding them from his beeper.

Episode Four - "Dark Room"

  • Undoing the fire extinguisher damage to Nathan's room door handle in the dormitories (optional).
  • Opening the lock to the Dark Room.
  • Warning Alyssa from being knocked into the swimming pool (optional).

Episode Five - "Polarized"

  • Helping David win the fight against Mark Jefferson.
  • Warning Evan Harris from being killed by flying debris (optional).
  • Reaching the fisherman safely and warning him about the exposed electrical wire (optional).
  • Preventing a fire from reaching the Two Whales Diner and causing a massive explosion.

Unrewindable Actions


There are some situations or instances throughout the game where Max cannot use her rewind powers and therefore makes decisions she has to live with as the game progresses.

  • In Episode 2, Max cannot rewind on the rooftop with Kate, because she presumably used all her power to freeze time in order to get to Kate.
  • In Episode 4, Jefferson injects Max's neck with a syringe filled with a drug, making her unconscious and unable to rewind for the duration of the drug's effect.

Forced Rewinds


Throughout the game, there are multiple instances where Max is forced to rewind because either she or a friend nearby is in a life-threatening situation, or Max is required to do something specific in order to progress further. During such moments, Max's surroundings will freeze and the screen will become desaturated.

Episode One - "Chrysalis"

  • Chloe Price gets shot by Nathan Prescott.
  • Paint can is allowed to hang (un-tampered with) on scaffolding for Samuel Taylor to paint the wall, or paint can falls down onto the empty ground below.
  • Box of precision screwdrivers falls under furniture with no easy way to get it.
  • Hit by lighthouse debris (avoidable).
  • Hit by boulder (avoidable).
  • Falling tree falls down on the path in front of Max (avoidable).
  • Hit by falling tree (avoidable).
  • Hit by falling logs (avoidable).
  • Hit by lighthouse debris again (avoidable).

Episode Two - "Out of Time"

  • Accidentally spilled soda on Kate's book.
  • Failed Chloe's challenge to guess the items in her pockets.
  • Failed a challenge to Chloe to predict the four events that will happen within the diner.
  • Accidentally broke a bottle while trying to get one of the bottles for Chloe.
  • Trapped by heavy debris while trying to get one of the bottles for Chloe.
  • Chloe Price misses her first two shots.
  • Chloe Price is directed to shoot at any target other than the wheel rim on the left or the car tire on the right (avoidable).
  • Chloe Price gets hit by a bullet after being directed to shoot at the car bumper (avoidable).
  • Max Caulfield gets hit by a moving train (avoidable).
  • Chloe Price gets hit by a moving train (only avoidable if the quicker option to damage the train tracks with the cable drum is chosen).

Episode Three - "Chaos Theory"

  • Forced Rewind Max and Frank.jpg
    Principal Wells finishes trying out all his keys and sits down to watch the dormitory exit.
  • Using a pipe bomb to blow up the door into Principal Wells's office and triggering fire alarm.
  • Spotted by Blackwell security guard while in locker or toilet area in Blackwell swimming pool (avoidable).
  • Attacked by Frank Bowers when Max takes his keys or spills his beer or beans. He lunges at her, saying he is going to kill her, but it is unclear how far he would go.
  • Breaking the knife to open a vent to find nothing inside while in Frank's RV (avoidable).
  • Allowing William Price to leave Chloe's house with the car keys.

Episode Four - "Dark Room"

  • Spotted by David Madsen while trying to distract him and take his locker keys (avoidable).
  • Entering a wrong PIN code on Nathan's phone three times (avoidable).
  • Entering a wrong code to the Dark Room multiple times (avoidable).
  • Spotted by two guys at the End Of The World party after accidentally dropping a column speaker into the pool while trying to enter the Vortex Club VIP section (avoidable).

Episode Five - "Polarized"

  • Overdosed by Mark Jefferson.
  • Attempting to warn David too early (avoidable).
  • David Madsen gets bludgeoned or shot to death by Mark Jefferson.
  • Hit by falling electrical pole (avoidable).
  • Preventing a fire from reaching the Two Whales Diner and causing a massive explosion, killing everyone in it.
  • Giving an unconvincing answer to Chloe, causing her to continue to head into the End of the World Party (avoidable).
  • Spotted by any of the characters searching for Max with their flashlights or by the rotating beam from the Blackwell Academy founder's statue in Max's nightmare section (avoidable).


  • If Max looks at her journal in "Chrysalis", she thinks that she hasn't kept up with it as much as she should. As she reads it, she wonders what other people would think if they looked at it. If she looks at it again after rewinding time, she notices that nothing has moved and wonders what is going on.
    • That may be due to the fact that any object in Max's possession (in contact with her or in her bag/pocket) travels with her, as evidenced when she takes Frank's key and then rewinds time, letting her keep the key without him knowing she has it.
  • If you rewind time after using the vending machine and use it again while searching through Blackwell at night in "Chaos Theory", Max will make a comment about how she could get every can in the machine with just one coin.
  • If you try to go inside the Swimming Pool lockers in "Chaos Theory" and then rewind to open the door for Chloe, Chloe says, "Dude, it's getting old! Try and dazzle me with another trick!"
  • The Vortex Club symbol is similar to the rewind meter that is displayed in the top left corner whenever Max rewinds.
  • The sounds Max hears while rewinding are reversed future and past dialog pieces.[1] These same dialog pieces are used for almost every rewind; no other dialog is reversed and played.
    • In the reversed Blackwell Academy sequence of Max's nightmare in "Polarized", you can hear and see things normally if Max uses her rewind in this scene.
  • Max rewinds time at 2x speed normally and at 20x speed while holding Shift.
  • When Max uses her rewind, she is not affected by changes in either time or space. In a panel with Dontnod, it was revealed that the team thought of acknowledging it directly in the game with other characters being surprised to see Max magically appearing but dropped it because it brought more problems than the ones they fixed.
  • At a given time Max can use her laptop for research about her power, after opening a page about Wormhole Theory, she will comment on how that theory makes sense. If taken into account how her power works during the rewind Max may actually be right. She may indeed open a wormhole in the fabric of time, (not space), allowing her to go back in time and not to have moved at all in space. This would also explain why pause rewind is harder for Max to perform, in Kate's rescue, under this theory when she pauses time, she actually has to open a wormhole in the fabric space/time as she needs to move herself as well. Further, supporting this theory, is the fact that the rewind position in the timeline is indicated by a "swirl meter" that resembles a crude drawing of a wormhole in the corner of the screen.


  1. Geek Remix videos: [1], [2] - Rewind sound effects backwards, cleaned up